Rochester, N.Y.— If Governor Andrew Cuomo has his way, there will be more casinos coming to upstate New York.
On Wednesday during his State of the State address, the governor revealed several initiatives to spur economic development and increase state revenue. One of the initiatives includes a plan to expand gambling in New York by adding three Las Vegas-style casinos upstate.
He emphasized that these casinos were not going to be in New York City.
“I believe casinos in upstate New York would be a great magnet to bring the New York City traffic up,” Cuomo said. “We propose during Phase One, three casinos, all in upstate New York-- no casinos in New York City, because the plan is to bring downstate New Yorkers to upstate.”
Cuomo explained that 90 percent of the state’s share of the casinos’ revenue would go to education and 10 percent would go to local governments for tax relief.
This year, the state legislature is expected to vote on an amendment to the state constitution. The amendment would allow up to seven Las Vegas-style casinos outside of Indian land. If the measure passes, voters would also vote on the amendment in November.
In his speech, Cuomo didn’t specify where in upstate New York the new casinos would go.
However, in Western New York, there is an issue that may temporarily prevent the new casinos from being built anywhere west of State Route 14, including the Rochester region.
In 2002, New York State and the Seneca Nation signed a compact stating that the Nation would have exclusive rights to casinos in Western New York. In exchange for this exclusivity, the Seneca Nation agreed to share a portion of their revenue with the state.
In 2011, the Seneca Nation filed for arbitration claiming that the state violated this compact by opening up casinos like Finger Lakes Racetrack and Casino and Batavia Downs. The Nation has since withheld hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue from the state for the alleged violation of this compact.
This compact is set to expire in 2016.
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